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Attali v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

August 1, 2017

DAVID ATTALI, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          HENRY PITMAN United States Magistrate Judge.

         I . Introduction

         I write to resolve a dispute among the parties concerning plaintiff's objections and responses to 59 of the requests for admissions ("RFAs") served by defendants. Defendants claim that the responses are inadequate and seek an Order either directing plaintiff to serve amended responses or deeming the requests admitted (Defs.' Letter to the Undersigned, dated June 20, 2017 (Docket Item ("D.I.") 101 ("Defs.' Motion")). Plaintiff argues that these RFAs themselves are improper and that, in any event, his responses comply with plaintiff's obligations under Fed.R.Civ.P. 36 (Pl.'s Letter to the Undersigned, dated June 22, 2017 (D.I. 104) ("Pl.'s Opp.")).

         II. Facts

         This is an employment discrimination lawsuit in which plaintiff, a former police officer with the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), alleges that he was subjected to a hostile work environment and constructively discharged on the basis of his religion. Defendants have served 59 RFAs on plaintiff that primarily relate to NYPD policies and statements plaintiff allegedly made to other officers during his tenure at the NYPD.

         III. Analysis

         A. Requests for Admission under Fed.R.Civ.P. 36

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a) provides:

[a] party may serve on any other party a written request to admit, for purposes of the pending action only, the truth of any matters within the scope of Rule 26 (b) (1) relating to:
(A) facts, the application of law to fact, or opinions about either; and
(B) the genuineness of any described documents.

         "This procedure is designed to promote the narrowing of issues for trial, and can be a significant aid to the court as well as the parties in ensuring a shorter and more focu[s]ed trial." Sequa Corp. v. Gelmin, 91 Civ. 8675 (CSH), 1993 WL 350029 at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 7, 1993) (Dolinger, M.J.). In setting forth the scope of an "Answer, " the rule provides:

[i]f a matter is not admitted, the answer must specifically deny it or state in detail why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny it. A denial must fairly respond to the substance of the matter; and when good faith requires that a party qualify an answer or deny only a part of a matter, the answer must specify the part admitted and qualify or deny the rest. The answering party may assert lack of knowledge or information as a reason for failing to admit or deny only if the party states that it has made reasonable inquiry and that the information it knows or can readily obtain is insufficient to enable it to admit or deny.

         Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(4). If the court finds that "an answer does not comply with this rule, the court may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served." Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(6).

         B. Application

         For purposes of this Opinion, the RFA responses and/or objections that defendants are challenging can be divided into five ...


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